Interview by Robert Cocuzzo
Photography by Dan Cutrona
This spring, New England Living launched its third season with a fresh, new face in front of the camera. Straight from the sidelines of Fenway Park, the dynamic Rachel Holt has traded her NESN press credentials for a spot on the CBS Boston squad and will taking viewers into all the wonderful nooks and crannies of New England. We met up with Holt at the Seven Tide Showroom in the Seaport recently to get a behind the scenes look at life in the spotlight.
What are you most excited for in the new season of New England Living?
HOLT: The chance to show people something they haven’t heard about or seen before. We’re going to highlight some unique experiences and I’m hopeful viewers are able to learn something new every episode, whether it’s a cooking tip, advice about decorating their home or a fun activity they should try.
What have you learned so far?
HOLT: A big part of this show is interviewing some very talented people in New England, from architects to chefs, so I feel like I’m learning something new every time we shoot. Chef Carl Dooley taught us a delicious recipe for mussels that was super easy, and I’ll definitely be using it from now on.
You’re all over the region for the show, but what makes up a quintessential New England day in your book?
HOLT: My family vacation in Maine every summer is always one of my favorite times of the year. We stay near Kennebunkport and eat lots of seafood, play bocce ball on the beach, have bonfires, and we recently started holding an annual golf tournament, which gets pretty competitive.
You’re originally a Jersey girl. What was the first hard lesson you learned about living in New England?
HOLT: That you need to learn how to parallel park. I’ve gotten better at it but parking on Newbury Street—as cars honk at you and pedestrians watch from the sidewalk—will always be a traumatic experience. Especially when you mess up.
Let’s talk about you…what’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
HOLT: I’m an adrenaline junkie! I’ve been skydiving four times and BASE jumping once—all tandem. I also love roller coasters and wish more adults liked going to theme parks.
Wow, you sound pretty fearless. When were you most nervous for an interview?
HOLT: I interviewed David Ortiz on the red carpet a few years ago. I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time. Looking back, he must’ve thought I was really weird.
Big Papi aside, if you could interview any person on the planet, who would it be?
HOLT: For me, it doesn’t get any cooler than Serena Williams. She is superwoman. I would have a lot to ask her, but I would want to know what it’s like being a mom and still kicking butt at tennis.
Do you have a professional hero?
HOLT: Doris Burke. She’s a trailblazer for women in sports and on television. She’s always so cool, calm and collected.
NE LIVING: Okay, rapid fire round: Would you rather have a movie theater or a swimming pool?
HOLT: Swimming pool…100 percent
Beach house or mountain cabin?
HOLT: Beach house.
City or suburbs?
What four items can totally change a room?
HOLT: Big mirrors, fun lamps, wall shelves and cute baskets for storage.
What piece of advice would you tell your eighteen-year-old self?
HOLT: Stop over-plucking your eyebrows. You don’t need to wear UGGs and sweatpants every day. Pay more attention in math class.
What are the three things you could never live without?
HOLT: My toothbrush, Yelp and cheese and crackers.
Your house is on fire. (Sorry!) What three things do you run in to save?
HOLT: I’m always scared I left my hair curler on when I leave the house, so this is a real fear. Call it boring, but I call it practical: my phone, my wallet and a bottle of wine
If you could break into anyone’s home, whose would it be?
HOLT: Elton John’s Beverly Hills home. Judging off pictures, it looks really funky, colorful and vibrant. It’s something only Elton John could pull off. Also, I think I’m with all of New England when I say I wouldn’t mind sneaking a peek at Tom and Gisele’s home. Mostly just to see Gisele’s closet.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your television career?
HOLT: Don’t take yourself too seriously and be able to laugh at yourself.